Happy November Instructors!
We are starting a new kind of thread here in the Community, it’s called “Ask a Champion”. In this thread, you’ll be able to tap into the experience and expertise of two of our Community Champions.
This month, our thread is hosted by @SharonRamel & @MarkLassoff! Both of these Champions have been with the program for several years and are ready, willing & able to answer any questions you might have about being a Udemy Instructor.
What questions do you have for Sharon & Mark?
Hi @EWTIC_Mentor I run competitions for my student group within my private FB Group. I give students the heads up in an educational announcement with the parameters and prize. The discussions and input from students is amazing. Sometimes the prize is one of my courses for free and sometimes other things. Students actually come forward and offer potential prizes which is super cool.
Other than that they are encourages to help each other with the motto that if they share they grow.
That sounds great. I’ve had difficulty getting participation from my students in the past.
Can you give an example of what a competition would look like and how to carry it out to get the most participation? My students are not English first language.
Hi @EWTIC_Mentor --
I would start with this question: What is your goal for organizing outside-of-Udemy activities for students?
This may be heresy, but, my goal is to maximize profitability-- not to interact with students more than I have to. It's not that I don't care, or, don't like my students. However, we deliver a complete do-it-yourself course. I answer questions, but, beyond that, I don't want to spend time interacting, because that is time that takes away from producing my next course and running my business.
So, what is your goal?
@MarkLassoff Thanks for the feedback. Yes, my goal too is to increase profitability plus giving students something more than just a course (kinda bonus). A platform for practicing in real-time what they learn in my course.
Give it your "the Best". This is your debut and it requires from you the best image of yourself towards students. Students always remember the first course and its quality that you offered them. So my best advice is you take your time. Don't rush. Read/watch from course previews and CLPs what other courses from same category as yours are offering. Give it your the best!!
Hope it helps.
Can I give you three?
1) Go Narrow, not broad-- Udemy is crowded, but, it's not impossible to break in. You break in more easily by creating a course that has a narrow topic. For example, there are hundreds of Excel courses on Udemy. But if you look at course ideas that might have a narrower appeal-- say Pivot Tables for Finance in Excel-- there's less competition. Choose your topic carefully, and unless you can do a lot of marketing, keep your topic narrow.
2) Be unique! There are hundreds of people narrating screencasts on Udemy! BO-RING! Instead of just being another instructor narrating a screencast, find a unique take, production technique-- something DIFFERENT and do that when you author your course.
3) Learn production and CARE. There are many courses with low production value-- the instructor's bed behind them in the video frame, less than good audio. Production is a learned skill and not a talent. Take the time to do things right. Your audience will appreciate it.
Good luck-- What topic are you thinking of creating your course on?
@Denise.W. Great question!
Do you have a mobile phone?
It's tempting to buy one of those expensive $1,000+ cameras. You may have even made the plunge. But, here's the thing...
Those cameras are complex and you need to understand how they work to use them well.
If you want to just capture some quick video for your online course, you may be better off using your mobile device. Modern mobile devices have cameras and quality that rivals that of the best video cameras-- And since you likely already have a mobile device it's free to use for your online courses.
A couple of tips for using your mobile device to record video for your online courses:
1) Always hold your camera in landscape mode-- like the shape of your television. Instagram TV is dead and all #onlinelearning video uses the landscape mode.
2) Shoot at 1x magnification-- Never magnify the image on your mobile device. Magnification comes at a cost: Distortion
3) Compose your images using the "Rule of Thirds". Your subject should be approximately 1/3 of the way from the left or right and top or bottom. This will make your image more interesting than centering your subject.
4) Use a rig or tripod. Your hands just aren't that steady. Using a rig or tripod (or both) will give you the steadiest image and avoid making your viewers seasick.
5) Shoot at 4K if you can. Output at HD (1920 x 1080). This will allow you to use only a portion of the image shot and simulate a 2 or 3 camera shoot.
@EWTIC_Mentor Sounds like you know what to do then-- Be careful-- You can't increase profitability by selling your Udemy audience something. Udemy expects that the course fee should cover everything...
But if your goal is to practice in the "real world," you can simply include those resources in your course. Just make sure you're not collecting email addresses or using them to market and you're good.
Keep in mind it's easier to engage on Udemy than off!
Sure @JenneGlo here is the copy of a thread I posted recently when I was getting irritated about all the external links. Generally, my Admins run the group. I have little interaction with it other than Facebook Lives for a free ceremony or to promote my latest course.
Hello hello, I just wanted to bump this thread and remind anyone who would like to ask questions to our amazing champions that this post will be here through the entire month of November.
Is there something you would like to know about their experience on Udemy? Are you looking for tips on how to prepare for Black Friday? Would you like advice about your course? Or simply looking for inspiration? Ask away! 😊
@MarkLassoff Thanks so much for participating in this thread!
I looked at your extensive arsenal of courses and books. You cover a very broad selection of cutting-edge technology topics. So here's my question, that I don't think I've ever seen addressed before: As a full-time instructor / author, how do you stay current on all these technologies to keep your existing courses updated and continue to launch new ones? Do you set aside X number of hours per day / per week to learning new things? Do you have an endless list of personal projects to learn from? Seems like staying up to date would be very challenging. Thanks for any insights.